Hadassah Leaders Press USSR to Free Ida Nudel

Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America, pressed the Soviet Union Monday to permit Jewish activist and refusenik Ida Nudel to emigrate to Israel.

Three thousand Hadassah leaders, here to celebrate the organization’s 75th anniversary, endorsed a statement adopted by the Hadassah National Board urging that the Soviets allow Nudel “to achieve her dream and exercise her human right to emigrate to Israel and freedom as soon as possible.”

The statement was included in a telegram sent to Yuri Dubinin, Soviet Ambassador to the United States, and signed by Hadassah National President Ruth Popkin on behalf of Jewish women leaders participating in Hadassah’s Diamond Jubilee Mission to Israel.

In the statement, Hadassah affirmed its “continuing solidarity with Ida Nudel a Soviet victim of oppression. We resolve not to give up the fight for her freedom until she is reunited in Israel with her beloved sister, Elena Fridman.”

Nudel, who has become a symbol of the plight of Jewish Prisoners of Conscience in the Soviet Union, spent four years in exile in Siberia and currently lives alone in Bendery in the Soviet Republic of Moldavia after being denied permission to return to her home in Moscow.

Over the past 16 years, authorities have repeatedly denied her an exit visa to join her only living relative in Israel.

The telegram to the Soviet Ambassador urged that he transmit Hadassah’s plea for Nudel’s freedom “to your government in Moscow without delay,” and concluded. “We look forward to prompt action by your government on this humanitarian appeal.” Hadassah’s Diamond Jubilee Mission arrived in Israel Monday to celebrate the organization’s role in the development of the Jewish nation. It was founded in 1912 by scholar, educator and Zionist pioneer Henrietta Szold.

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